McLaren Formula One driver Fernando Alonso is still in the hospital under observation for a concussion from his preseason crash at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. The team has officially blamed unusually high and gusty winds at the circuit as the reason for the unusual accident.
A team statement released today states that McLaren has studied both the crashed car as well as the telemetry and could not find any failures that happened to the car itself shortly before Alonso's car met the wall inside Turn 3. The statement reads:
His car ran wide at the entry to Turn Three – which is a fast uphill right-hander – allowing it to run onto the Astroturf that lines the outside of the track. A consequent loss of traction caused a degree of instability, spitting it back towards the inside of the circuit, where it regained traction and struck the wall side-on.
Our findings indicate that the accident was caused by the unpredictably gusty winds at that part of the circuit at that time, and which had affected other drivers similarly (eg, Carlos Sainz Jnr).
We can categorically state that there is no evidence that indicates that Fernando's car suffered mechanical failure of any kind. We can also confirm that absolutely no loss of aerodynamic pressure was recorded, which fact indicates that the car did not suffer any aerodynamic loss, despite the fact that it was subjected to a significant level of g-force.
The team states that the impact to the front and back right wheels caused "a significant lateral impact" that damaged the front upright and axle, and fortunately, "no damage was sustained by the bodywork or crash structure between the front and rear wheels." It did, however, shake up Alonso quite a bit.
Likewise, the team addressed the theory that a fault in the car's energy recovery system caused Alonso to go unconscious before losing control. This did not happen, either, as the team reports that Alonso "was downshifting while applying full brake pressure right up to the moment of the first impact – something that clearly would not have been possible had he been unconscious at the time."
Perhaps this is another wall that needs a softer barrier.
Alonso is reportedly awake and alert, and chatting away with visitors.
He still looks a bit groggy in photos, however, McLaren reports that both CT and MRI scans have come back normal. The hospital is keeping him for observation for another night to both allow a safe and peaceful recovery as well as to let him recover from the sedatives he was given yesterday as part of his treatment for the concussion.
McLaren will evaluate in due time whether Alonso will participate in the car's next test, which starts Thursday at Barcelona-Catalunya. According to NBC Sports, reserve drivers Kevin Magnussen and Stoffel Vandoorne are available to test in his place if need be.
Photo credits: Getty Images